Myrtle Beach senior Adolfo Aguilar wasn’t about to let his high school soccer career fade away.
Especially not with a loss in last year’s Class AAA Lower State championship still on his mind and a chance to get back there with a victory Saturday.
Aguilar scored twice and proved to be the difference as the top-ranked Seahawks took down Aiken 2-0 in the Lower State semifinals at Doug Shaw Memorial Stadium.
“We’ve been working hard, practicing hard, eating right and sticking together like always and I didn’t want to see it all end here,” Aguilar said. “We know each game could be our last and we don’t want to feel what we did last year.”
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Aguilar scored his first goal in the 24th minute, and the Seahawks carried a 1-0 lead into halftime. Then he put the exclamation point on the match with his second goal, which came in the 72nd minute.
Aguilar – motivated by his teammates – has come to life in the playoffs and played a big part in the Seahawks’ opening-round 10-0 win over Lakewood, and their second round 3-1 win over Hanahan.
Myrtle Beach coach Jason Himmelsbach sees no signs of him slowing down, either.
“Adolfo – the last two weeks – has just been a different person,” Himmelsbach said. “He’s been huge for us and we’ve had a lot of different guys step up at different times in the year. His time has been now. Once the playoffs came, he’s been ready. And he was huge for us tonight, especially.”
Also playing a big part in the Seahawks’ win was goalkeeper David Carriker, who had four saves and now has 12 shutouts on the season.
“This is his first year as a starter and David has stepped in and has been really clutch in big games,” Himmelsbach said. “Against good competition, when we needed him, he’s stepped up. So far in the playoffs, he has been very reliable and he gets especially pumped up for the big games and he was huge tonight. It was probably his best game of the year.”
Himmelsbach said morale is high for the Seahawks – the only Class AAA team from the Grand Strand left standing. And Myrtle Beach, which has won 11 straight games, will be on the road for a meeting against Hilton Head on Tuesday with a trip to the Class AAA state finals on the line.
“This team is confident, but not arrogant. They know they have to do the work for anything to transpire,” said Himmelsbach, whose team sits at 22-2-1. “It’s a good locker room; we have a lot of good seniors that play leadership roles. It’s just a good group and I’m excited for them.”
Aguilar is eager as well.
“We’re pretty hungry,” he said. “We can’t get ahead of ourselves, though. We just need to play our game and let it come to us.”